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The Moody Blues - Every Good Boy Deserves Favour CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.53 | 274 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Let me preface this review with the admission that back in the late 60s and early 70s I wasn't so much a fan of The Moody Blues as I was Justin Hayward. From the beginning it seemed that the songs I liked most were written and sung by him. The rest of the members' tunes always came off as Prog Lite to me and I never really understood the remarkable attraction that their albums held for the general public. But in those days almost every household had a Moody Blues LP or two in their collection so they definitely fulfilled a need for many. (Chicks in particular adored them) What Yes, King Crimson and ELP did for me these guys did for those who preferred something a lot more tame so that was their niche. "So how come you have several of their records in your possession?" you may rightly inquire. I'm not sure I ever paid money for one of their albums but through generous absorption and co-mingling with collections amassed by assorted girlfriends, roommates and wives over the decades I have somehow obtained several of their LPs. So there.

They always did know how to start off an album with a splash and this one is no exception. The Moog was still relatively new at the time and they feature it at the beginning to great effect. In fact, the group-penned "Procession" is admirably atmospheric and mysterious as they move through tribal drum patterns complete with primitive grunts and chants and construct collages using flute and sitar. You're thinking that this project might possibly be their breakthrough into a higher stratum of progressive music. The whole thing leads into Hayward's excellent "The Story in your Eyes" that has a memorable melody sung gracefully over a tight rhythm track. No wonder it's still a staple on classic rock radio stations. Ray Thomas' "Our Guessing Game" is next and, while it's actually one of his better efforts, the muddy mix underneath the vocal keeps the tune from escaping the throes of mediocrity.

John Lodge's "Emily's Song" follows and it has nicely layered three-part harmonies undoubtedly inspired by CS&N's huge success in that timeframe. Its folksy flavor works well here as his heartfelt ode to his daughter is touching and sincere. Graeme Edge's "After You Came" is adventurous with its varying feels but the song is just too weak overall to hold your interest for long. The only excitement comes at the end when Justin adds some growling power chords and sustained feedback. Lodge's "One More Time to Live" starts like a simple folk ditty, then turns into an overdone sing-along that takes itself way too seriously. One of the irritating things about this band is their insistence on burying the toneless drums so far down in the blend that the only clearly audible percussion instrument carrying the beat is the tambourine and this number is a prime example of that trait. I just don't get it. It's not rocket science, fellas, let's hear the snare.

I don't know if Ray was just naive to what was happening in the rock and roll world or what but "Nice to be Here" is another one of his cute and cuddly compositions that sounds like it should be on a children's record. Now there's nothing inherently wrong with that but it doesn't fit in with the tone of this album. I've heard people tell me that they find his work to be quaint and innocent but I don't. And the slurring Mellotron, in an attempt to make it sound like a steel guitar, is downright annoying along with Thomas' silly lines like "silver minnows were devising/water ballet so surprising/a mouse played daffodil/a mole came up blinking/underneath an owl who's thinking/how he came to be sat on a hill." Hot stuff, Ray.

In the nick of time along comes Hayward's "You Can Never Go Home," another gem that features a tasteful arrangement of gorgeous orchestration draped behind his charismatic vocal and an intriguing melody. It's a poignant song about starting over that retains its relevance even today. Mike Pinder's only tune to be included is "My Song" which ends the album. It starts well with just vocal and piano but then gets corny as all get out. There's a spacey segment with what sounds like a person breathing inside a space suit, then a symphonic section that would fit better in a Sergio Leone spaghetti western ensues before they repeat the initial verse/chorus structure and fade out. Ho hum.

In 1977 Justin released his first true solo album ("Songwriter") and my expectations were very high. To my dismay it was a bomb. So my long-held theory that he would have been much better off in distancing himself from the Moody Blues just didn't hold water any longer. For whatever reason Hayward's best material arose from his association with this band and it was those very songs that lifted their records up out of the mundane as is the case here. This album is better than some of their others but the inconsistent quality of the tunes is more noticeable than anything else. However, I must acknowledge the superb artwork. Who knows how many purchased this record simply because of the stunning cover and inside liner? Gotta give them points for that. 2.6 stars.

Chicapah | 3/5 |


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